A father who shot and killed a man suspected of abducting and sexually abusing his son was sentenced today to five years’ probation and ordered to perform community service work.
Calling the shooting a tragedy, Judge Frank Saia suspended a sentence of seven years at hard labor for Leon Gary Plauche, who pleaded no contest on May 16 to manslaughter in the death of Jeffrey Doucet.
Doucet, 25, was shot in the head at the Baton Rouge airport on March 16, 1984. At the time of the shooting, which was filmed by a television crew, deputies were escorting Doucet in handcuffs after returning him from California, where FBI agents had arrested him on a charge of kidnaping Plauche’s 11-year-old son.
Plauche was originally indicted on a charge of second-degree murder but bargained with prosecutors to plead no contest to the reduced charge of manslaughter, which carried a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison.
Two psychological reports to the court included detailed accounts given by both Plauche and his son.
Dr. James L. Brabham reported that the son described how Doucet, the youth’s martial-arts instructor, had sexually abused him for months prior to the shooting, telling him “real men don’t need women.”
Dr. Edward P. Uzee examined the father and concluded that Plauche could not tell the difference between right and wrong when he shot Doucet. He said Plauche “developed a sense of righteous mission directed by what Gary sensed as the voice of Jesus telling him that if he did not kill his son’s sexual molester that the man would continue to harm his son and other children.”
Judge Saia said it was evident that locking Plauche in jail would not help and said, “In this case, if there is anything that is unusual, it is because both sides are victims. Both sides suffered.”
Roland Doucet, a brother, called the sentencing an outrage.
“I don’t believe justice was done,” he said.